Land degradation associated with agriculture has been recognized worldwide as posing serious environmental, natural resource and human problems. As a consequence, the Australian Government agricultural agencies, while still focusing on agricultural development, are increasingly being required to add social and biophysical environmental objectives to their more traditional economic development roles. One of the difficulties faced by agencies in achieving this aim is the lack of appropriate skills by their traditionally educated professional staff.This paper shows bow one such agency, the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, is responding to major land degradation problems and the need to undertake integrated land-use planning to achieve sustainable development objectives. In particular, following a tender process whereby the authors provided advice on alternative means of achieving the agency's objectives, the authors were contracted through the University of Western Australia's Institute for Regional Development to mount an on-line course designed for agency officers.While students have responded positively to the course content, a number of problems relating to the delivery of this course has emerged. They include the feeling of isolation by the students, problems with web designer over educational philosophies, the inordinate amount of time involved in writing and delivering the course, and unresolved questions relating to intellectual property. The question still remains as to whether the course will achieve the primary underlying objective of attaining sustainable agricultural development. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.